The Hills Council refuses again to introduce acknowledgement to country

CLASH: The Hills councillors butted heads over a motion a motion to incorporate an acknowledgement of country.
CLASH: The Hills councillors butted heads over a motion a motion to incorporate an acknowledgement of country.

The Hills Council has again rejected a motion to incorporate an acknowledgement of country.

More than 50 people stormed out of the council chambers on Tuesday night after the motion to include an acknowledgement of country in its meeting protocol was refused. 

Tempers flared as Labor councillors Ryan Tracey, Ray Harty, Tony Hay and Liberal councillor Mark Taylor, argued with the remaining Liberal councillors over the issue.

Cr Michael Thomas said he struggled to believe the conviction from the councillors supporting the motion,

“This is the fifth year of term for this council,” Cr Thomas said. 

“After more than four years of this council, we now have this matter brought before us as if it is some form of terrible injustice.

“I don’t understand why it is so important to give people who were here first recognition, but we give no recognition to people who laid down their lives for our country.” 

Cr Thomas’ comments sparked an outraged resident from the gallery to call him a “racist”.

Last year councillors voted against the motion citing the issue was tied up in ‘tokenism’ and ‘political correctness’. 

Cr Hay said the motion represented a need for inclusiveness in the community.

“It embellishes, recognises and respects the history of this nation,” he said. 

But deputy mayor Robyn Preston countered the motion, saying it “lacked consistency”.

“The intimacy of the knowledge is not there,” she said.

An online Change.org petition with more than 500 signatures in support of the motion was also tabled. 

Cr Harty promised the motion would be brought back to council “every three months”.

“It’s not about treating people differently, it’s about treating people equally,” Cr Harty said.